Thursday, August 12, 2010

My favorite Lou Holtz Quote

"Life is 10% what happens to you and 
 90% how you respond to it."
-Lou Holtz
legendary NCAA football coach and
ESPN college football analyst
It was spring 2006.  I was just finishing up my undergraduate degree and my fiance (now husband) was completing the final requirements for his M.A.  We were preparing to graduate from Marshall University, get married in two short months, and start our lives together.  Early in the winter, he had thrown a hail mary and applied to a Ph.D. program at Ohio University.  After waiting a few months and hearing nothing, he hit the WV public school teaching job market, hoping to find a job as a junior high or high school english teacher at a decent school somewhere reasonably close to family.  Big dreams of becoming a doctor had nearly vanished.  And then...

the call came.

One minute, we're planning to settle for a life in our home state of West Virginia, close to family, where we could buy a home and start our own family immediately. The next... the possibility of more school, a hold on babies, another few years of renting, and a new state were knocking at our door.

The familiar vs. the unfamiliar.
The known vs. the unknown.
The easy vs. the challenging.

So, we jumped into the car -my husband was in the driver's seat, I held a printout of Mapquest directions - and we headed two hours north, up to Ohio University's campus in Athens, Ohio. We spent a rainy day on the road, a rainy day on campus, I ate my very first Turkey Ranch & Swiss sandwich from Quiznos, then I cried like a baby all the way home.  I hated Athens because it "wasn't like Huntington."  "OU's campus isn't like Marshall's campus."  Basically, I'd lived in WV my whole life, and was terrified to move somewhere else.

I spent three weeks fighting with myself.  My husband had a huge opportunity within his grasp, but all I could feel was fear of the unknown.  He was over the fear, ready to chase a dream, and I was holding him back. After three weeks of confusion and something that felt a little like heartbreak, I suddenly woke on a Sunday morning with a positive outlook and new attitude. "Let's go", I said.  "Let's go to Athens."

That is how I dealt with one of the most important occurences in our lives. When I think about what could have been had we not moved to Ohio, I shudder.  The last five years of my life have been so full, so fun, and so exciting.  Life definitely is 10% what happens, and 90% how you respond to it.  What would my life be like had I responded to what happened in spring 2006 differently?  What would my husband's life be like?  Would he be teaching 7th grade english but still be dreaming of becoming a scholar?  Or would he have let that dream go by now?   Would I be as brave, as goal-oriented as I am now? Or would I have settled for simplicity in the West Virginia mountains? Would we have traveled as much, explored as much, and experienced as much together living in WV as we have while living in Ohio? Judging by the person i was then, I think I would've continuously sold myself short and held back on living LIFE if we had stayed in our home state. Moving away has changed me.  I've learned that it's safer not to plan anything - what happens is going to happen.  As Lou says, life is mostly made up of how you handle the things that happen to you - and I completely believe that. 

Lou Holtz is an amazing motivational speaker, with great character and an impressive life story.  Even if college football is of no interest to you, Lou's story probably could be.  He's a very positive person, and I love listening to his commentary during ESPN college football games - he'll make you feel good about your team, even if they're getting pounded on the field! He also makes you feel good about life - good ol' Lou.  I love him like a grandpa! 
He's a quote machine, and his books are full of them.  My personal favorite is Lou's autobiography, "Wins, Losses, and Lessons" - such a great story, and truly motivating!  He's the best at inspiring others to face a challenge head-on, defy the odds, grab life and GO. I'll take Lou's advice over Oprahs any day (no offense, Oprah fans! I love her, too!)

I squealed with delight when Lou's Quote was one of Mama Kat's writing prompts this week. I seriously love him.  My grandpa!

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Kelly said...

Aww, what a great GREAT post!! Very thoughtful and inspiring to read :-) I think that Lou is the best too! I'd love to read that book sometime. Happy Friday Eve!! :-D

Amanda said...

Wow what a story!!! And I totally agree with you...I kinda went through something similar when my boyfriend decided to buy the house we live in now.

It was so awful and needed so much work and I complained about it a lot but now I wish I hadn't done that bc with all the hard work we did, I now love this house :)

Survey Junkie said...

Hi Stephanie,
Thanks for linking up to FMBT. You have been chosen as our guest host for 8/17. If your interested in linking up with us we would love to have ya. Email me at and I can send you the info.
Talk to you soon
-Staycee :)

Anonymous said...

Great post. thanks for the prompt for new reading material. Stoppong by from Mama Kats

Margaret said...

Great posts! I wrote about this topic as well because I totally agree with it like you do!

Christy said...

that is a wonderful story and a wonderful way to relate on Lou Holtz's quote! I really enjoyed reading it!

So much, that I'm a new follower!

Amber said...

Wow, Steph! This post was amazing! It is JUST what I needed right now, too :) Thanks so much for sharing. I definitely need to read Lou's book :)

Anonymous said...

Good for you for having a positive outlook.. I don't know if I could have done that - I'm not a big fan of change.
Stopped in from Mama Kat's.. Great post!

Jessica said...

I have a lump in my throat now.

My boyfriend has dreams of becoming a dentist. I have fear of moving away from home, putting off family plans, and putting up with more school.


I'm channeling the inner you right now and praying that I can face these days (within the next year) with this kind of outlook. I know we'll eventually move back home, but I hate the thought of being away. I HATE the thought of change.

Brittany Ann said...

What a great story y'all have! We came up with a similar scare when my husband contemplated joining the military! It was scary! But so far, it's been worth it:)

Katina said...

What a wonderful post! I immediately wanted to sing "Country road take me home to the place where I belong, West Virginia, Mountain Mama take me home!!!". Thanks so much for visiting Peaceful Divas. You probably wouldn't be blogging had you stayed in WV!!! So glad you stepped out of your comfort zone!

Kate said...

Good for you for taking that leap of faith. You have a lot of good, positive thoughts in here :) I enjoyed reading.

chocoholic said...

I love Lou Holtz too! I didn't get my Mama Kat's email this week...hmmm.

Anyway, I wanted to let you know that you are this week's FEATURED FOLLOWER!